Daily Archives: January 25, 2008

Lunchtime Thai Menu 04

Crispy Catfish Salad(yum pla duk foo)

This is the continuation of our weekly Friday Lunchtime Thai Menu. Every week I will be bringing you pictures of what we eat at lunchtime in the Paknam Web office. The budget for all of us is about 100 baht ($3) though I think we blew that budget this week. Everything you see here is Thai street food which surprises many people. Quite often, restaurants sell the same food, though at inflated prices. A lot of street food in Thailand is single dishes. For example, noodles, fried rice and Chinese chicken. However, most of the food that we have been buying is the kind that you share between your friends. This makes it more economical. We will try and give you some single dishes in the future.

The first one today is a favourite of mine in the local restaurants. It is a green mango salad with crispy fried cat fish. It also has peanuts, chopped red shallots and chillies on a lettuce base. The secret ingredient is the sauce and not everyone makes it the same way. A common one would be lemon juice, fish sauce and palm sugar. This dish is called “yum” in Thai which means salad. However, if they used garlic instead of shallots then it would be a “som tam” dish. This dish cost 25 baht from the night market in Paknam. It was good but I have had better.

Fried Coconut Palm shoot with Shrimp

The next one is a simple dish that uses the young coconut flesh and fries it with shrimp. The dish only cost 25 baht. So, at that price they didn’t give many shrimps. So we bought some fresh shrimp ourselves and fried these up for this dish and the other one further down this page. In Thai this dish is called “pad yod mapao on kung”.

Pork Belly with Five Spices and Boiled Eggs (kai pa loh)

This is a dish that you often see in food markets though in my mind it doesn’t look appetizing. However, I sometimes buy it for two reasons. Firstly it is not hot and spicy and so goes well when mixing with meals that contains curry’s. It also lasts several days so you don’t need to eat it all in one day. There seems to be two versions. Sometimes you see them in big enamel pots with mainly pork and tofu with a few hard boiled eggs. This one is the opposite and the main ingredient is the eggs hence the alternative name “kai pa loh”. The other version would be “moo pa loh”. The taste of the soup is very distinctive and probably the reason that I like eating it. It is also quite nice cold. To make it, the pork is fried in golden garlic together with cilantro root and five-spice powder. Once cooked, chicken stock is then poured in and to this is added soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar. The hardboiled eggs are added last. One bag of this was only 20 baht.

Seafood Tom Yum (tom yum talay)

This is the famous hot and sour soup called “tom yum” in Thai which I have written about before. I normally eat with shrimp or chicken. But this is a seafood version which, to be honest, I am not so keen on. This dish cost less than $1 but we cheated a little and added a few of our own shrimps. You will find that although street food is often cheap, there isn’t always a lot of meat. Sometimes, when we only have curry or soup left over, I will cook up some more meat the following day to add to whatever is left over.

Thai Dessert

We splashed out on dessert today though it was really worth it. This variety of sticky rice desserts was 40 baht from the market. It was topped with some coconut cream. I am sure I have talked about these deserts before in previous Thai food blogs. So, I won’t go into any details now. But, I will do a special blog on Thai desserts in the near future as it is a popular subject. I just hope that I don’t gain too much weight during the research! The things I have to do for thai-blogs.com! Before I forget, this meal cost a whopping 140 baht which is about $4. We will try and keep within budget next time.

Please post as comments any suggestions that you have for street food we could buy for next week’s meal. If you have any questions, then please post them in our popular Thai Food Forums over at ThailandQA.com. We will be running a competition there soon to win a Thai cook book. This will be only for members so make sure you go and sign up today if you don’t want to miss out on this competition.

thai american boy going home

Well, its been a while, but its good to be back…writing on thai-blogs. My little brother has been going back to Thailand every summer since he was 7, and that was over 20 years ago. Family members and close friends of the family always remarked on how “Thai” he was. He controlled his emotions, and never got mad. It is said that it is un-civilized if you do not have the cognitive powers to control your emotions. No one ever understood that he just had a good heart, except me and my parents.

The kid has loved Thailand more than anyone else I know. Seems like he has always loved going and hanging with my cousins, playing sports and games. At first it was simple things, like playing cards with my cousins, our aunt and her friends. Then tennis during the day, or golf. Which all led to a life in pursuit of enjoying your life. Cliche’, I know. However, looking at my family, its the truth over there.

When my parents were here in the great midwest. There were not many family members in the US of A. However, those that were here, all worked hard and many hours. I know that the same things exists in Thailand as well. However, it was very different from our views here and there. My parents worked at times from 8AM till 2Am, 6 days a week. Sometimes 7 days. Never really getting any vacations. Possibly a golf game on Sundays. Thai function at the local temple. Not really enjoying life, though providing for their growing family. Getting their pleasures when there was time. By the way, they are now back in Thailand.

Now growing up and glimpsing at a diffent life each summer can effect you. Watching your cousins enjoy life…seeing your aunts and uncles come home at reasonable hours…hell, watching family get together more often. Not just one or two cousins either, I mean a family. Several generations…Americans call them second and third cousins…the Thai call family or cousin..if not older brother or sister. Well, its a wonderful life and Jimmy Stewart never saw it.

I guess thats what has attracted many of us to Thailand. A different life, one where you have time to really enjoy it, where it seems that no one takes things tooooo seriosly. Its a good life. Last time I was there, my wife and I were ready to take the plunge after being hooked to our desks, blackberry between meetings, and looking at our respective computers in our virtual office while at home. All the time having our cell phones ring about that next always upcoming meeting.

Now don’t get me wrong. My cousin leaves at 6:00AM or earlier to avoid the traffic that Bangkok has, and doesn’t get home till 7PM cause the same thing. She is usually working at home to boot. However, she has also scuba dived on vacation, has a “summer home” and does fun things that are more exciting than spending a day grabbing coffee at the local Starbucks and looking for a good book at the Barnes and Noble down the street. Its a much more luxurious life.

So my brother has bought a nice home, and is moving to Thailand. God bless him.